We desperately need a viable third party in this country

On most issues facing this country, I’m a centrist. On a few issues like health care, I’m a “Crazy Bernie” lefty. On issues like religious extremism, I’m a right-wing lunatic hawk. But, mostly, I’m a centrist … which means no party in D.C. is working for me.

Then again, I don’t have the riches to buy myself a politician the way Big Pharma, Big Banks, Big Oil and Big Everything Else can. They don’t seem interested in Big Broke. (Coincidentally, U.S. health care is working to keep me Big Broke, which is why I’m big on Bernie.)

Beyond the money controlling politics, the partisan divide with our two-party system has become extreme. From the day they take office, politicians are worried about the next election instead of governing. And the problem has become so fine-tuned that 51-49 is considered a mandate. Even when you lose a popular election by 3 million votes, you can claim a mandate.

So, once either party has control, governing takes a backseat to pushing hard-line agendas through “mandates.” When the two parties have divided power, we get gridlock. Sometimes we even get gridlock when there is division within a party as we see now with the GOP-led Congress.

Imagine, though, if we had a viable centrist party, filled with Republicans like Susan Collins, John Kasich, Ben Sasse and Jeff Flake who are not afraid to buck their own party on occasion and don’t fawn over Dear Leader Trump. Match them with conservative Democrats like Claire McCaskill, Joe Manchin, Jon Tester and Evan Bayh. Throw in with these “RINOs” and “DINOs” some independent-minded folks — such as an offspring of Bernie Sanders and Rand Paul (consider the result, not the process) — and you just might have the swing party that could get important things passed. I’d like for their party platform to fit on a Post-It note: “Do right.”

They would be what folks like Justice Anthony Kennedy and former justice Sandra Day O’Connor have been for the Supreme Court — vitally important swing voters with the ability to think independently and reason beyond partisan leanings. The Supreme Court would be much better off with nine reasonable swing voters than with five right-wingers and four left-wingers, or vice-versa. When crucial issues go before the highest court in the land and you already know how at least four of the members will vote, it’s no longer functioning properly.

I maintain that while such a centrist party would be way smaller than either the Democrats or the Republicans, they would be the most powerful bloc in Washington because you wouldn’t be able to get anything passed without them. Unfortunately, because they would be the most powerful, they would have bull’s-eyes on their backs for all the Big Money lobbyists.

I guess until we get Big Money out of politics, it’s all moot. Unfortunately, both our divided Congress and our Supreme Court have made bought politicians the law of the land, perhaps forever more. And that means that instead of fixing health care, infrastructure, corporate welfare and income inequality, politicians will focus on issues like Roseanne, Stormy Daniels and anthem protests.

And maybe whatever issues are on the minds of Kim and Kanye.

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